Hurricane Harvey the strongest to actually hit land in the U.S in over a decade.
As a Florida girl, I am well aware of the massive damages that a hurricane and even a tropical storm can cause. Thankfully Florida hasn’t been hit with one of these monsters in a while. Unfortunately, our friends in Texas can’t say the same.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the 4th largest city in the U. S, this past weekend. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey was like that annoying little kid no one pays attention to until he does something crazy like turning into a category 4. That sure escalated quickly! Hurricane Harvey went from category 1 to 4 rapidly. This was because it passed over a region of super warm ocean water called an eddy. Basically the hotter the water the more energy the storm gets.
Houston is underwater at this point, some counties have received at least 30 inches of water and it looks like the rain is not stopping anytime soon. According to the New York Times, at least 10 people have been killed and many are injured. More than ten of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes. Many pets have also lost their home, their owners and have been abandoned.
What can we do to help?
This is a great time to hold off that fire selfie you were going to post and use your social media powers for good. I know (I hope) many of you, like me, want to know what you can do to help the Hurricane Harvey victims. As Harvey continues to dump rain on the Gulf Coast many organizations are doing vital work to help save lives and give comfort.
I put together and found these super helpful lists of places you can make donations through:
American Red Cross. To make a financial donation, visit the their website, call 1.800.RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need.
Global Giving. They have a goal of raising $2million for its Harvey relief fund. To make a financial donation, visit their website or text HARVEY to 80100 to donate $10 to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Salvation Army. To make a financial donation, visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1.800.SAL ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.
Catholic Charities of USA. To make a financial donation, visit CCUSA's disaster-specific website or text 71777 to make a donation.
United Way of Greater Houston Their Relief Fund is to help with recovery needs of those that were the most impacted. To give to the United Way Flood Relief Fund, visit unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that connects donors with a network of nonprofits in the sector. To make a financial donation, visit the GHCF website.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
Samaritan's Purse is accepting donations as well as volunteers for Harvey disaster relief for the coming months.
Corporate Donor Sites
GoFundMe has created a landing page that aggregates the campaigns already created to help those affected by Harvey.
4 Paws Farm, a 501c(3) charity, will be providing aid for animals affected by Hurricane Harvey. To find out more or to help, click here.
Lowe’s has activated its customers donation program in Texas stores. Customers can also donate to the American Red Cross online here. Lowe's Heroes volunteers from area stores will join the First Response Team of America to assist Aransas Pass residents as they recover from Hurricane Harvey.
Lyft has added the American Red Cross to their Round Up & Donate feature - enabling riders to round up their Lyft fares and donate the difference to the American Red Cross from now until the end of September with just one tap. Lyft is also donating $100,000 to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Starbucks has donated $250,000 to relief efforts. Customers in any U.S. company-operated store who want to help can make a donation to the American Red Cross at the register. Additionally, Starbucks employees who make a personal contribution to the relief efforts can request matching funds through the company's Partner Match program (pro tip: ask your company if they have a donor match program). More details can be found here.
Tito's Vodka is partnering with the American Red Cross, and will match dollar for dollar all donations up to $50K. Those looking to support relief efforts can contribute here.
United Airlines will match the first $100,000 raised through its charitable campaign. United MileagePlus members who donate a minimum of $50 to any of United's charitable partners will receive up to 1,000 bonus miles (details, which download as a pdf, are here). Remember that for tax purposes, if you receive something of value in exchange for a donation, your charitable deduction must be reduced accordingly.
I found this one to be really cool, Airbnb has set up an urgent accommodations site, where people can open their homes to evacuees from the storm or find shelter themselves. Service fees will also be waived for those who check in by Sept. 1.
The Texas Diaper Bank, works to meet the basic needs of babies, children with disabilities, and seniors. The Texas Diaper Bank actually focuses on providing partner agencies with diapers and goods
A number of food banks will be aiding the affected region. Consider donating money instead of food, as it allows a food bank to use your donation most efficiently.
There is also Feeding Texas. Which is a statewide nonprofit that works alongside state and federal relief efforts.
Help Our Furry Friends
To my fellow animal lovers, here’s what you can do to help.
Austin Pets Alive they have said that they have transported more than 200 animals and counting to its shelter. They are seeking families that can foster cats and large dogs. In addition to cash donations, the organization can also use in-kind donations like large plastic or metal bins with lids.
The SPCA of Texas has also put out a call people who can foster animals. To do so, you can sign up at www.spca.org/foster. SPCA is also donations like, litter boxes, blankets, large crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspapers, etc.